Museum Director

Supervise the staff and operations of a museum.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$28,000 – $86,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Museum Directors do?

There are a lot of detail-oriented jobs within a museum, but someone needs to keep the big picture in mind. That’s where the Museum Director comes in. You manage staff, funding, planning, and the overall concept of the museum, and represent the museum to the public. And with the board, you make big decisions as the Museum Director about finances and the direction the museum will take.

A big part of your Museum Director job involves people: Meeting with the board of Directors, managing all of the staff of the museum, and acting as a bridge between the board and the staff. But you also need to know about museum operations, like curating exhibits, giving tours, running events, stocking a gift shop, and preserving artifacts, so that you can work with all of your staff effectively.

Besides the staff and board, you work with the public—that’s who the museum is really for, after all. You give welcoming speeches at events. You come up with strategies for how to increase membership, keep visitors engaged, and promote new exhibits. You hobnob with community leaders, Artists, Historians, Educators, donors, and anyone interested in the subject area of your museum.

Depending on the size of the museum, your responsibilities will vary. At a smaller museum, you might be jumping in to set up exhibits, write grant proposals, or even lead tours. You might even be the only paid staff member, working with all volunteers. On the other hand, at a larger museum, you would have many different departments doing all that work for you, and your day-to-day tasks would remain at the managerial level.

Should I be a Museum Director?

You should have a master's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.

  • Also known as: Director, Industrial Museum, Director of Exhibit Development

    How to become a Museum Director

    Museum Directors often have a Master's degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:ybaa19&chl=doctorate+%2830%25%29|no+college+%281%25%29|||bachelor%27s+%2832%25%29|master%27s+%2837%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,30,37
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